Sudbury Schooling

Access my posts on Sudbury schooling here.

Sudbury schooling is the professional passion of my life, as well as my career for the better part of the past eighteen years. In a nutshell, Sudbury offers young people completely self-directed learning in a mixed-age, democratic environment. Students ages 5 to 18 (roughly) direct the course of their days in a scaled-down version of the real world, a community which permits them a full voice in all its decisions.

What follows is web content I wrote with the PR & Marketing Committee of Alpine Valley School to describe the essence of this unique approach to schooling, lightly edited for Write Learning. (Check out my links page for more resources on Sudbury schooling.)

Since 1968, the Sudbury model of education has proven that trusting children’s innate drive and intelligence works. A number of schools around the world follow this model, which rests on a few basic principles:

  • Children are born with an intense drive to understand and manage their environment.
  • Learning happens all the time, in whatever we do.
  • Children need lots of time to play and move freely.
  • The best way for children to learn responsibility (and decision making and problem solving) is for them to be given responsibility (and make decisions and solve problems).
  • Individuals should have a voice in decisions that affect their lives.
  • Growing up in a mixed-age community gives children a beneficial blend of backgrounds and perspectives.

Sudbury schools around the world place great value on:

  • Responsibility. By making decisions and respecting the rights of others, students come to see connections between actions and consequences, and they develop good judgment and character.
  • Individuality. By learning in the manner most appropriate for them, students discover who they are and how to get what they want.
  • Initiative. By initiating their own activities, with support from the school community, students figure out what needs to be done and then do it.
  • Empowerment. By learning to speak up and take action, students improve their lives and surroundings, instead of being passive or getting frustrated.

Links to find out more about Sudbury schooling can be found on this page.

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